CG Creative Interiors is a full-service design firm based in Atlanta owned by the talented Caryn Grossman. I met Caryn recently on Facebook and after seeing images from her home, I decided to share it with you today thanks to Caryn who so nicely sent a slew of beautiful photos to me. Her home reminds me a movie set, it feels very southern and like the homes I visited growing up whenever we went on field trips to Charleston. Her home, a converted telephone factory with an original concrete floor, is very charming and glamorous unlike it’s roots, and there is genuine personality here. The texture and pastels mixed with jewel tones looks very pretty and in Caryn’s creative home, it all really, really works. I can see that she is very creative but also artistic, and her home seems to be an ever evolving series of art installations almost like a theater, gallery or retail space — I love that. And in a way, it almost does function this way as she frequently holds art events in her home. Nice!
In addition to seeing her space, I thought I’d ask her a few questions about her business and inspirations. Would you like to sit in on our chat?
Holly: Have you always been a designer? What got you interested in design as a profession?
Caryn: I’ve always been entrepreneurial, working for myself since I was in my 20s, but my first round of business was in marketing and communications. I would concept, write, and act as art director and creative director for all of my client’s campaigns. I specialized in architecture and design firms, and somewhere along the way it occurred to me that I was far more intrigued with what they did, than what I did. I took some additional courses in design, and loved it so much I asked the chair of the interiors department if I could join his program. That was more than 10 years ago, and I’ve never looked back!
Holly: Who are some great people who have influenced your work along the way?
Caryn: I’m inspired by just about everything visual, and love designers who take risks, who aren’t afraid — whether it be film, fashion, interiors… I am wholly inspired by Javier Mariscal’s animated brilliance, Nani Marquina’s whimsical designs, Philippe Starck’s often sarcastic style and Ingo Maurer who makes it all look like play. Closer to home, Clint Zeagler, inspires me in all forms fashion and style, while Christopher Moulder, a sculptor who plays with light, helps to ignite my own creativity.
Holly: What is your design philosophy?
Caryn: Awhile back, when I was first finding my own style, a friend gave me a book called ‘Breaking the Rules’, and I guess I have been, ever since. I believe that spaces are meant to come alive, to express, to evoke. They should have meaning, resonance, for all who pass through. Great spaces render emotion; they comfort, they enliven, they convey. I believe that good design is magic, that each space tells a story.
Holly: How would you describe your style?
Caryn: Each of my projects is decidedly different, yet each tells a story. I think that’s the common denominator, the story, rather than a particular look or style. For my own personal space, I’ve created what feels, to me, like a Paris apartment, full of salvage and vintage finds, set within the stark walls of an old industrial surround. I love the play of contrast, the opulence of silk taffeta drapes, pooled on a concrete floor. Prior to that I lived in an old bungalow, where the focus was on color, rhythm and flow. There’s a Japanese theory, Shakkei, where there are three views, the immediate, the one that’s beyond, then the one that’s beyond that. My little bungalow was all about those views, one room leading into another, and then the view beyond.
Holly: Do you gravitate towards a specific palette and if yes, what colors and why?
Caryn: My palette changes with each client, with the feelings we are trying to convey. For an ad agency, we chose a deep red and mustard, lively bold colors, while for a residence the palette was pale — blues and lavenders, very soothing, very relaxing.
Holly: If you could design a room for anyone, who would it be, which room and why this particular person?
Caryn: Goodness, that’s a hard one. I think it would be for a fashion designer, like Coco Chanel, her dressing room perhaps.
Holly: What things inspire you as a creator?
Caryn: Everything! I love fashion, tiny opulent touches, silhouettes and contrast. I love the way music can fill a space, the way a certain refrain ‘feels’ like a particular color or scene. I love when, even in discord, there is an absolute harmony. I’m also tremendously curious. I love the creative process, even more than the result.
Holly: Can you suggest some of your favorite design books that may inspire decor8 readers?
Caryn: Just about any book published by Phadion inspires me — I love the way they put the books together, the binding, the pace of the pages. Taschen is another great publisher. Books of botanicals, with arrangements of glorious colors and textures. As for titles, I can’t really say. It’s rare that it’s an interior design book that inspires me; rather its books on fashion, industrial design, graphic design.
Holly: And finally Caryn, what is your most cherished possession in your own home and why?
Caryn: Teacups passed from my greatgrandmother, to my mother, and then to me. Each one is different, like notes in a melody.
Thank you Caryn for connecting with me on Facebook, and for accepting this interview – it has been a pleasure to get to know you better.
Oh and readers…. I have to comment on this: don’t you LOVE the idea of having your home function as a space in which you hold events that are centered around art, design and good music? Oh yes, I love this idea. And I vow today that if I happen to find a larger flat here I will host some events and invite whoever will come because seriously, what a nice way to get to know others and share with them some of your favorite things!
(images: cg creative interiors)
I heard from interior designer Michelle Williams‘ publicist recently and wanted to share her portfolio in case you’ve not seen it before… Some of her rooms really caught my eye and well, something more. I’ll get to that in a moment. First, Michelle Williams Interiors has been featured in countless national publications including Marie Claire, InStyle.com and Renovation Style. She is based in Chicago where she lives and works transforming residential spaces. She really has that Domino aesthetic, don’t you think?
But now to what really inspired me to write about Michelle outside of her apparent talent. I felt inspired by her biography because I think many have the impression that most designers have been at it since birth and that if you haven’t why bother changing your career once you’ve hit your thirties and beyond? Easy. Because you can!
Part of her bio reads, “After Simmons College in Boston, Michelle moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a celebrity publicist. While she always felt a calling for interior design, it took a few years in the corporate world and encouragement from leading architects and designers to take the leap of faith. She moved back to Chicago and established a career in the design world.”
Very encouraging, I think! Imagine going from a celebrity publicist to an interior design, from L.A. to Chicago? That’s a leap! And now, fifteen years later, she has established herself as a go-to designer in Chicago and is doing quite well in her profession. I think these rooms show that talent and I’m so glad she trusted her gut and pursued her passion, clearly she has made the right choice. Let’s all give a high five to Michelle!
I guess the moral of the story is this: If you are really passionate about something you simply have to take the leap. So many successful woman did so and things worked out just fine. No fear! No fear! :) You. Can. Do. It. You risk more by not trying.
(images: michelle williams interiors)
We were in France earlier today, would you like to come along with me a bit north up to England now? I received the sweetest email from Tracey Leigh, an interior designer who works out of her home office in England and who also authors a blog called Homeleigh Vintage. I love when readers reach out to me and send in submissions, especially of their beautiful homes and portfolios — it’s always exciting and I love posting such inspirational homes. Tracey would like to share her quaint English home with all of us today, it’s so very country and charming… and I couldn’t refuse! Tracey’s home reminds me of something I’d see in Ideal Home magazine or the UK version of Country Living.
If you live near Tracey you can ask her for help decorating, she is a practicing Interior Designer who would love to help you create the perfect home!
(images: tracey leigh design)
I felt so flattered when Margarita Lorenzo, a graphic & textile designer based in London from Chocolate Creative, wrote in asking if I’d like to share her views from a couple of London handmade design fairs she recently attended. Um… let me think about this. Right. YES! So Margarita has pulled together some of her opinions and rounded up a few of her favorite designers here for all of us to enjoy. I’m calling this the London Designers To Watch since I see some genuine talent here. Ready to view some beautiful handwork?
Take it away, Margarita!
I attended the Central St Martins textile degree show recently, and as usual was presented with an amazing variety of work. I am glad that they have this public events, where people can view and appreciate the gorgeous work of these talented future designers. On my visit to the show, I met Solenne Morigeaud, a graduate from the Masters in textile futures. She is a Paris-born surface designer, that having graduated in fashion and textile design at ESAA Duperré school in Paris, went on to do this masters. I love her work, it is very unique and dedicated. This antique door is the piece that she was exhibiting at the show, GORGEOUS! Smoke and Mirrors is a collection of mirrors, glass and wallpaper that blur and interact with our perception. The inspiration comes from ink stains, clouds, shadows and smoke trails – coincidental patterns that create an unforeseen imagery. Mirrors are etched, laser-cut and overlaid, creating unexpected illusion effects. Through her work, Solenne imagines the future of textiles as a way to encourage people to get into their imagination, too often forgotten.
I met Mijae at the Chelsea Textile Degree Show and she was very nice and took her time to explain her project. She makes garments with the fabrics that she designs to mimic brick work. I can see why she gets so inspired by bricks — not only they are everywhere is London, but the colors and textures that they can achieve over the years are extraordinary! I like the simplicity of her work, don’t you?
I saw Xiang Zeng’s movable wallpaper, Freerange Doodle, at the show too and thought it was a clever and very cute idea of telling a story. This time not through a book but via an interactive medium, where you get to make your own version of the tale and became the narrator of your unique wallpaper… very creative!
Another designer that caught my eye was textile designer Lilli Cowley-Wood. Birds, parrots, dogs, plants, etc…they all seem to live in this beautiful, imaginary world… I love her drawings!
More and more talent… next meet designer Aurelia Dupas (sorry no link). Her blankets were one of the first things I saw at the show. I fell in love with them from the distance and the closer I got the more I liked them, so much detail, the fabric textures… She uses natural fabrics and dyes, hand stitching and silk screen prints such beautiful patterns. Her collection is called Warmest Feelings comfort blankets for adults.
More work I love…
Betty Pepper, Textile design and jewelry artist: I don’t have words to describe Betty’s work, it is extraordinary! So delicate, unique, gorgeous… I remember seeing her work at Origin in London, and falling for her unique way of doing textiles and paper media together. Her work is very distinctive, the fabrics she choose, the old books, the vintage look of her work, everything is so beautifully put together.
For addition London design inspiration and highlights from shows that I attend, please visit me over at the Chocolate Creative blog! – Margarita.
Thank you Margarita for this lovely round up. I see a definite theme in London when it comes to design and enjoy seeing this view through the eyes of a London local. Thanks again!
(images supplied by margarita lorenzo)